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These FAQs are only for

For Africa-based students, please refer to


What exactly are the externship opportunities?

This program is designed to provide access to data science for low-resource settings and humanitarian initiatives (using the skills of our phenomenal EPFL students!)

i.e. We respond to various data-science needs of our partners throughout Africa and the projects can be very varied.

There are 2 main kinds of projects

    The student stays for 1-6 months with the Africa-based organisation under the joint supervision of a local researcher and an EPFL professor for an internship, master thesis or informal project.

EXAMPLE: A partner in Africa has an important data set that can't be shared outside the country and requires onsite assistance to create impactful algorithms that will improve their humanitarian activities.

    The student stays for 1-4 weeks with the Africa-based organisation to perform a training boot camp or lecture series for students and professionals who do not usually have access educational opportunities in data science.

EXAMPLE​: A partner in Africa has identified a need for an introductory course to deep learning for their master level students in biostatistics or a bootcamp in practical programming in python for medical students interested in interdiscplinary career paths....maybe even an introductory course for local officials in the ministry of health. (The course content will be validated by EPFL profs to ensure the highest standards)

Most projects have a strong theme of AI for Global Health: i.e. predictive medicine as a means of achieving health equity.

The projects will be listed on this website from late MARCH/APRIL 2023 and updated on a rolling basis #watchthisspace!


When can I go?


Any time from March 2023 to March 2024.

The time should align with the availabilities of your host in Africa and with your semester timetable.


Does it count as a regular externship/credit-bearing thesis? 


If the project conforms to the internship regulations then it is possible to obtain credits in the usual way.

    Externships less than 6 months

    Externships for 6 months (while the time in Africa is usually limited to 3 months due to restrictions on typical tourist visas, exceptions can be made if you have obtained a longer visa duration and/or if the work can be continued remotely after the stay)

    Externships for 6 months with an Africa-
    based company (see above).

Otherwise, you will also get a certificate validating your contribution and a letter of recommendation from the host supervisor. 

Great for building a competitive CV!


How is it funded?

Travel and living expenses are fully reimbursed within a reasonable budget (flights, accommodation, transport, vaccinations and visas etc). Other specific costs can be discussed.

In some cases it could qualify as a traditional industry internship, and this may include a salary.


I heard there is also a chance for a "capacity building project"....what is that?

Each student can apply for a small donation (around CHF1000) to support a capacity-building project when they are on site.

EXAMPLE: if you are working in a hospital and notice that the data collection as well as patient care would be improved by purchasing several pulse oximeters

--> write a 1-page proposal (approved by your local host) and submit it to


Do we get additional support to host data science boot camps and training sessions?

Yes! Each student can apply for a small donation to supply consumables for their boot camps.

EXAMPLE: you could provide lunches for the participants, posters to advertise the boot camps, compute access, T-shirt printing for boot camp souvenirs, certificate printing, awards for the best-performing students, etc!!!

--> write a 1-page proposal and submit it to


Where exactly?

All over!

We respond to the data science needs of various partners throughout Africa.

Current potential locations include Zanzibar, Mainland Tanzania, Rwanda, South Africa, Kenya, and Ethiopia.

We first collect pre-registrations to gauge interests and availabilities (CURRENT PHASE) --> design the opportunities --> advertise the opportunities --> Match them!


Is it safe?

Yes. Your host will advise you on the best place to stay.

Remember to check with your local travel clinic to ensure you are up to date with your vaccinations (e.g. Yellow Fever, COVID, Hepatitis A, Typhoid etc.) and to check whether you will need malaria prophylaxis.  

Get an appointment for a pre-travel consultation/vaccination at Unisanté HERE

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